Guest column: How the ecosystem for mom-preneurs has grown in India

For mom-preneurs, flexibility is the biggest ask.

NEW DELHI: “Build a tribe of teammates, advisors, investors, who will inspire you, push you and support you daily. Learn to ask for help. Everyone thinks it’s brave to go out alone. I think it’s even braver to ask for help when you need it,” said Julia Hartz, co-founder & CEO of Eventbrite.

This quote above sums up the mantra for success for every entrepreneur ever, and is as crucial for a mom-preneur; sometimes even more so! It builds a strong case for building a strong ecosystem that will guide us towards our goal. That we are here, discussing this ecosystem today, is testimony to their increasing relevance in the success of the community of mom-preneurs.

Managing Alphabet Media was challenging and fun, but since my entire life revolved around it, I never faced a dilemma. That set in two years back, when I had my daughter. Both the babies demanded attention, and I had to divide my time between the two. That’s when I well and truly understood what it means to be a mom-preneur.

There are two aspects to any individual’s success – personal and professional; and that’s the ecosystem you need to work on. And this holds true for mom-preneurs too…and then some more.

The support system at home

Much has changed in the past 10 years in terms of the ecosystem for women who choose to start or pursue their business after having kids.

To begin with, most families are far more welcoming of this move now than ever before. The idea of women contributing to the household economy had become the norm in cities as far as 30 years back, but now the idea is finding feet in towns and beyond too. A strong network of the joint family and/or a well-oiled system of house help who become your domestic team have made it possible for the woman to focus on growing the business without any feeling of guilt.

House help is one category a mom-preneur cannot afford to take for granted. They are one of the pillars that help her hold up the empire. Finding the right people and making sure they stay is crucial. And a slew of reliable agencies has come up offering tailor-made solutions to the entire community of mothers, including mom-preneurs. In fact, some of them also have women on the bench (a la Indian recruitment firms operating in the US!) in case one of the helps goes AWOL on any given day, and there is that all-important presentation to attend.

In cities where nuclear families are common, there is a strong movement of peer support from local moms that comes handy to build the right infrastructure, an imperative for any mother, let alone one who works. Right from getting all essentials delivered at home, reliable professionals for any kind of job, recommendations for interesting kiddie activity options, this network is a one-stop solution for most mothers. Even more importantly, they are around when an emergency arises, be it baby-sitting the little one to providing virtual support.

The safety net at work

Due to increased conversations about mom-preneurs, spurred by media and champions alike, there is far wider acceptance of the realities that define this category of women in the professional space. Many aspects that most entrepreneurs may take for granted such as working late, travelling extensively, sudden meetings, etc. are a planning nightmare for mom-preneurs. Understanding of this is the biggest support that one can extend to this emerging set of professionals.

Empathy and compassion are now far more ingrained into the DNA of corporates than it was before – be it team members, companies or even clients. There’s more understanding now for personal situations or challenges that any team member may be facing, and accommodations are more commonplace.

For mom-preneurs, flexibility is the biggest ask. A team who is able to step up and take on a larger role if and when the need arises, a client who is able to push a timeline if needed – these are crucial interventions that the corporate space now enjoys.

Another important set that mom-preneurs now have are an expert set of mentors – women who have been there and done that, and happy to share their experience and learning with anyone who may need it. Even industry bodies like CII and FICCI have units that are dedicated to providing a platform for women entrepreneurs, including mothers, emerge and flourish.

The virtual super highway

Today, we have reached a point where anybody with a special talent and a 4G connected smartphone can start a business. Over time, the sector has also seen the emergence of mom-preneur networks that are dedicated to bringing together a plethora of tools – digital and otherwise required for a woman to kickstart her business and subsequently succeed.

Facebook, in fact, recently concluded a world-wide search under its Facebook Community Leadership Program where it has selected three mom-preneurs from India who have founded support communities for moms on the social media platform. This training will equip the women, not just in engaging the members better, but also growing their communities and expanding its scope further.

Living in the post-Covid times

The experiences that the working class have faced during the times of lockdown, including having to shuttle between responsibilities of home and work, have been a great leveller. Now, irrespective of your marital status, having children or not, gender, position in company, every corporate worker has an in-depth view into the lives of working mothers since time immemorial.

Breakfast responsibility, housework, office work, cleaning the home, putting the clothes back into its shelves – most have now realised that there is no genie in the family who does this. And if social media is to be believed, there is also far greater appreciation for womankind the world over. Some of this rubs off onto mom-preneurs too, I am confident.

Thus, the ecosystem for mom-preneurs in today’s context has definitely improved so as to make it easier for the lady in question to spread her wings further, dream bigger and soar higher!

(The author is founder, Alphabet Media. may not subscribe to her views.)

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